Gaborone and Francistown administrative districts have recorded the highest number of maternal mortality cases.
This is according to the current Maternal Mortality Report compiled by the Ministry of Health.
It further explains that this has to be understood in the context of the fact that in addition to their institutional challenges, as hosts of the country’s two largest referral hospitals, the areas receive almost all the country’s most complicated cases some of which are due to delayed interventions internally and externally.
The trend observed in the two referral hospitals is similar to findings from other countries such as Kenya where higher numbers of maternal deaths were recorded in major teaching and referral hospitals.
In 2008 there was a slight decline, but since then there has been no noticeable change.
“Inadequate documentation and reporting could have contributed to the decline in 2008 and in the subsequent three years, the monitoring system was fully established and the reporting had improved. In Francistown, the proportion of maternal deaths decreased steadily from 23 percent to 17.9 percent in 2007-2009 respectively and a sharp increase to 27percent in 2011.”
Ngami District is the third leading in number of maternal deaths at 27, or 7.8 percent over the five year period, followed by Mahalapye 17, or 4.9percent, Serowe 15, or 4.33percent, Kgatleng 14 or 4.05 percent, Kweneng East 14 or 4.05 percent, and Bobirwa 10 or 2.89 percent.
“Ngami District is vast and sparsely populated which might have implications on referral system and timely management of obstetric complications. Furthermore, there is only one hospital in the Ngami district (Maun) which acts as a referral for Ngami and Okavango districts, which further explains the high number of maternal mortality in the region,” explains the report.
The report is based on total number of maternal deaths of 346 from 2007 to 2011 as reported from the facilities within the districts. The maternal deaths in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 were 71 or 20.5 percent, 60 or 17.3 percent, 78 or 22.5percent, 64 or 18.5 percent and 73 or 21.1percent respectively.